Rex “Wakee” Salud: A Brief Chat with the Man the Pacman Has Trusted Nowadays
By Ron Galarpe
03 Dec 2005
It was one afternoon last Tuesday that I realized I have to give myself a break and allow my wornout mind to turn again to the sport I love. My day was hard and tough dedicated as always to my current job, which surely earns me enough to lift my family than doing my thing for boxing. However, my passion for the sport would not just leave me away and so, I finally decided to call the man, which I believe Manny Pacquiao has trusted nowadays, the amiable Rex “Wakee” Salud.
Salud is one of the most successful boxing managers in the country. The man was born and raised in Cebu. He said that his love for boxing started way back when he was still a student. He would reminisced the days when, as a student, he would always visit a library or a bookstore just to read articles about boxing. I asked him if he ever became a fighter, he said no, but simply loved the sport as a fan.
Wakee’s managerial profession in handling boxers started in 1985. He was one of the most trusted boxing managers in Cebu and rose to prominence in the whole archipelago when he started producing world champions.
Wakee was the man behind Dodie “Boy” Penalosa when the great polio victim invaded the flyweight ranks and captured the IBF title in 1987. He was also the man behind Malcolm Tuñacao when “Eagle Eye” won the WBC flyweight belt in hostile Thailand. He was also responsible for the rise of the most technically skilled Filipino fighter ever, Gerry Peñalosa.
After asking questions about his managerial career, I turned the topic about his ward Jimrex Jaca and about his relationship with Manny Pacquiao. Here are the rest of my conversation with him.
Rex "Wakee" Salud (in striped shirt) watched as Pacman works out at ALA Gym in Cebu. Photo by Dong Secuya.
RG – Jimrex Jaca is reportedly fighting in Las Vegas as undercard on the Pacquiao-Morales fight, who will be his opponent?
RWS- Jimrex Jaca will be in action with Manny on that date. Shelly Finkel successfully lobbied Jaca and we are just waiting on who will be his opponent who will hopefully a Mexican.
RG – How was it for Jimrex Jaca fighting probably the best exposure in his career at the moment?
RWS – He is excited and thrilled. He wants to prove his worth and now he has just started training.
RG – I followed his career and at one time was ranked WBC #7 super bantamweight, but his lone loss due to weight problems seemed to hamper his career, will he be religious now on his career?
RWS – Jimrex would always have problems making weight, this is why he jumped from 122 to 130. He is really talented, it is just that he has to watch his weight and find the ideal weight for him.
RG – It seems Manny has so much respect in you, how is your relationship with him?
RWS – We respect each other but one big reason why we enjoy each other’s company is that we share and enjoy common interests, boxing and cock fighting.
RG- Do you handle now the affairs of Manny in the ring or in other words, a Filipino manager for the Pacman in place of Rod Nazario?
RWS - No, I have no business contract whatsoever with Manny’s ring career. We are just good friends but I admit, I am most of the time acting as a consultant or a guide to Manny’s decision making for his career. Manny is literally handling his own affairs, even if he has his management team, what he decides is what should happen. With the way things are going in his camp, Manny is like a freelance manager.
RG – Manny was reported to have trained in Cebu at the ALA gym, how was it?
RWS – Manny had a great training in Cebu, he seemed to be in good shape.
RG- Where is Manny now?
RWS – He is in General Santos City right now. He wants to be with his family after his appearance in the SEA games and before going to America.
RG – As I know, he should be training here in the Philippines before going to Roach on December 3. Is he doing training in Gensan?
RWS – Reports that came to me is that he is training in Gensan, that is what they told me. I have not confirmed it yet.
RG – December 3 is the reported flight of Manny going to LA for his preparation for Morales, will this push through?
RWS – Yes, it will push through as planned. However, I learned he is going to Manila on December 1 and 2 but it seems not for training but for other commitments. I am not sure. I just hope he continues his training in Manila. If I were in his shoes, I should concentrate on my training and nothing else. Unfortunately, I am not Manny and it is not proper for me to just tell him or dictate him what to do.
RG – Being a co-manager for Bobby Pacquiao, what is the update on him?
RWS – He is taking his sweet time but when I get to America during Manny’s preparation for Morales, I will start shopping for Bobby’s next opponent.
RG – You have made champions of Gerry and Malcolm, how come they have shifted to new managers?
RWS – After my managerial contracts with them had finished, they had looked for better offers and I am not the type to hold-off my fighters. They looked for greener pastures and that is fine with me.
RG – You saw and met Gerry Peñalosa at the Ala gym in Cebu, how was it?
RWS- We were okay, I have no problem with Gerry.
RG – You are such a successful boxing manager, do you have any secret or a principle as a manager?
RWS – The key is knowing your boxer and knowing what they want and very important is you have a long-term program for him.
I appreciate the time given to me by Mr. Rex “Wakee” Salud, so on behalf of Philboxing.com, we wish to thank Mr. Salud for his humble time that was shared to this site.
On my next column: My interview with Gabriel “Bebot” Elorde and his update on his ward Juanito Rubillar being the mandatory challenger for Brian Villoria. Will the Villoria-Rubillar fight happen? Read it next.
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